According to ESPN senior NFL insider Adam Schefter, the Chicago Bears have requested permission to interview Omar Khan, the Steelers’ Vice President of Football Operations and Business Administration.
No word yet on whether the Bears have received the all-clear to talk to Khan, though the Steelers have allowed other teams—like the Carolina Panthers—to interview him in the past. Most notably, the Houston Texans interviewed Khan in January 2021 for their General Manager opening. He appeared to be the front-runner for the job, until a “sudden and unexpected turn” on the part of Texans owner Cal McNair, who proceeded to hire New England Patriots Director of Player Personnel Nick Caserio.
What might be different this year is that longtime Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert might be retiring this spring. At least that is the expectation of Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, who reported on January 9 that Colbert plans to step down following the 2022 NFL Draft.
Khan is believed to be one of two in-house candidates to replace Colbert, the other being Steelers Pro Scouting Coordinator Brandon Hunt, who has been in his role since 2010.
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Steelers Defensive Coordinator Keith Butler Returns
In other news from Wednesday, Steelers defensive coordinator Keith Butler is back at work, this according to Steelers insider Gerry Dulac, who covers the team for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Butler missed Sunday’s season-finale against the Baltimore Ravens as a result of a positive COVID-19 test. In Butler’s absence, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin and secondary coach Teryl Austin teamed up to fill the void. The results were mixed. The Steelers held the Ravens to 13 points in four-plus quarters of football, but also allowed Baltimore to rush for a whopping 249 yards, the fourth time in nine games that the defense has allowed 200+ yards rushing.
Now Pittsburgh’s defense faces the challenge of stopping a Kansas City Chiefs offense that feature All-Pro talents like quarterback Patrick Mahomes and tight end Travis Kelce, the latter of whom did not play when the Chiefs embarrassed the Steelers 36-10 on December 26.
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Steelers & Chiefs: Two Teams That Have Struggled to Stop the Run
The Steelers come into Sunday night’s AFC Wildcard game with the worst rushing defense in the NFL. According to NFL.com, Pittsburgh has allowed a league-high 2,483 rushing yards this season, an average of almost exactly five yards per carry. The next worst team is the Chiefs, who have ceded ground at the rate of 4.8 yards per rush.
The Steelers have allowed 17 rushing touchdowns this season, while the Chiefs have allowed 15.
The Steelers come into the game (Sunday January 16, 8:15 pm ET, NBC) as double-digit underdogs.
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